Canada Wide Labour Relations Blog

Alberta Government Continues Rollback of Worker Protections  [Canadian Law of Work Forum]     Last week the Alberta UCP government introduced Bill 47: Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act. The bill makes sweeping changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act(OHS Act) and the Workers’ Compensation Act. It also creates a new act, the Heroes’ Compensation Act, which provides a lump-sum payment to families of first responders who die as a result of their duties.

Alberta introduces labour legislation that reverses several worker protections put in place by NDP  [Edmonton Journal]     Bill 47, the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, would remove a legal requirement of employers to reinstate an injured worker, bring back a cap on maximum insurable earnings for injured workers and narrow circumstances in which workers can refuse to work due to workplace hazards.

Alberta looks to revamp health and safety rules  [Canadian HR Reporter]     Alberta is looking to revamp its health and safety rules.  The province says it is looking to make workplace safety laws easier to understand and create a more sustainable workers’ compensation system, altering both the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) and the Workers Compensation Act.

Arbitration panel rejects rollback demand, awards 1% raise to non-academic staff at eight small Alberta public colleges  [Alberta Politics]     It’s unlikely the United Conservative Party Government was pleased when it got word Monday an arbitration panel had rejected an employer demand for a pay rollback and awarded support staff at eight smaller Alberta post-secondary institutions a 1-per-cent raise for the final year of their contract.

‘Contempt for workers’: Union says Alberta’s public service employees victimized by proposed cuts  [CTV News]     Officials released a statement Friday, after negotiations resumed between the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) and the Alberta Public Service (APS) on Nov. 5.  All the parties were forced to conclude talks because of the pandemic but now the provincial government said it had revised its position. It suggested both groups take an additional three per cent pay cut on top of the original one per cent cut.

Alberta government asks civil servants to take four-per-cent pay cut  [Edmonton Journal]     Kevin Barry, vice-president of AUPE, said in a news release the new proposal came after meeting with the government on Thursday. The union was told the province had changed its mind on a previous proposal of a one per cent salary rollback, followed by three years of zero increases

All Ontario education unions will strike on Friday, February 21. This is the first time since the political protest of 1997 that teachers and education workers from Ontario’s main education affiliates will all be out of their classrooms on the same day.Below please find an online solidarity letter. The letter has so far received close to a thousand signatures from Ontario academics and post-secondary educators in support of the teachers and education workers. Please consider signing the online letter to help amplify the message and demonstrate national support for education funding.

You can find information regarding the ongoing strikes and picket line locations here:

For more information read an article published in the Timmons Daily Press:

Teachers ramp up strike action; All four unions in are engaged in job action for the first time in 20 years. De Luigi, Elena.Daily Press; Timmins, Ont. [Timmins, Ont]12 Feb 2020: A.3.

“The six-day strike of full- and part-time faculty and librarians at Mount Allison University has ended with a negotiated settlement.


Details of the tentative agreements will be shared with the membership early this week. A ratification vote will follow. Until then, no details of the tentative agreements will be released to the public.

Issues in dispute during the strike included accommodation for faculty and librarians with disabilities, job security and compensation for part-time faculty and librarians, workload, and resources for the academic mission.”

Read the full press release here.

Read the full Alberta Bargaining Update for January 2020 here

This resource provides a monthly update on wage details by employers in the post-secondary education sector. It is available here.

Teachers and nurses will not be receiving any new wage increases after arbitration rulings came down Friday. The rulings come after the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the United Nurses of Alberta were hoping for wage increases and the province sought a two to five per cent rollback.


ATA president Jason Schilling said Friday going into the arbitration hearing they were hoping for a three per cent increase for each year of the contract. “I am extremely frustrated and angry at this decision. I think the association had a really strong argument in the arbitration process and I was confident that we would see a reasonable increase to our salaries,” Schilling said. Since 2012, Alberta teachers have received only one new wage increase to their general salaries.


The arbitration hearings with the UNA — which represents more than 30,000 registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and other health-care workers — were held on Dec. 4 and 5 in Edmonton. In his judgement, arbitrator David Jones — who was also the arbitrator in the ATA’s hearing — wrote, “no change to wage rates is justified in the third year of the current collective agreement, particularly given the prevailing general economic conditions in the province, as well as the current comparative continuity and stability of nurses’ employment and the absence of any relevant other public sector settlements that would indicate either an increase or a decrease to salaries.”

Read the full article here:  ‘Extremely frustrated and angry:’ Zero Wage Increases For Teachers, Nurses in Arbitration Rulings

Shaughn Butts –

According to a recent study by the Centre For Economic and Policy Research looking into paid vacation and holiday time in countries across the industrialized world, Canada currently ranks near the bottom of the list.

The average Canadian worker only receives 10 paid vacation days each year, tying Canada for second last out of 21 OECD countries in North America, Europe and Asia.


Read the full article here: Two weeks off each year is bad for your health and bad for the economy

Questions Answered in the AUPE Bargaining update online

Read the Bargaining Update here.

1. What proposals have the union and employer made so far? 
2. What is our position on the employer’s proposed rollbacks? 
3. How many years will our next contract be in place for? 
4. Can the employer legislate their bargaining demands? 
5. Can the employer issue a retroactive salary rollback? 
6. Is the employer seeking to have us pay more for our benefits? 
7. What is an Essential Service Agreement, and when do we expect to have one? 
8. If we have to strike, will I have access to financial support?  
9. Why don’t we just call a general strike now? 
10. What are we doing to fight these rollbacks, and how can I get involved? 
11. Local chairs contact information 


York and CUPE 3903 — the trade union representing contract faculty — teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and part-time librarians and archivists at York, have agreed to meet again starting January 22, resuming talks on the renewal of collective agreements put forward in 2018.  Yanni Dagonas, York’s deputy spokesperson, indicates that the university administration remains confident they will be able to push forward the extension of said agreements.

[Chronicle Herald, Jan 9]     A labour disruption appears to have been averted at Nova Scotia’s largest university. Bargaining teams for Dalhousie University in Halifax and its faculty reached a tentative contract agreement Friday after meeting with a government conciliator. The university and the Dalhousie Faculty Association announced the tentative deal in an email to students and staff Friday, saying negotiators had resolved the outstanding issues.

[AUPE, Jan 7]     After nearly two years of delays, Alberta’s Special Areas Board has come back to the table and substantially rolled back their proposal from September of 2019. In our last proposal, your negotiations team merely asked for what they were offering then (in September of 2019). Now, due to the substantial reductions, AUPE has filed a bad faith bargaining complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB), which was accepted. The Employer must respond by January 19, 2021.